Tuesday Treasures

from CJ:

I don't watch that much TV anymore, but this year four programs have really caught my attention. They're well-written, star actors who are giving subtle, multi-layered performances, and their story lines are intriguing.

Only problem? All four of them are on Tuesdays at 10pm!

The Good Wife came on first last fall. I was immediately caught by the high concept premise: the wife of a politician accused of corruption must return to work and support her family while dealing with the repercussions of her husband's actions.

If that's not enough, it stars the wonderful Julianna Margulies as the wife and one of my favorite actors, Chris Noth, as the disgraced and not-always-repentent husband. I have no idea how the ratings are for CBS, but this show is a keeper--one that can be savored for multi-episode character development as well as intriguing single episode plotlines.

Southland actually hit the air before The Good Wife, originally on NBC last year, but it was pulled.   Thankfully, TNT has picked it up. Foolish, NBC!!! How could they almost let this gritty, edgy police procedural die? It's the best cop show since Hill Street Blues--it can be bleak and dark and angsty, but that's life on the streets of South Central LA.

So typical of Hollywood to want to yank the one show that actually portrays police officers realistically--warts and heroics and yes, even sentimental softspots. I love this show, it makes me nostalgic for my days of working evening shifts in the ER and then hanging out with cops and paramedics before going home.

NBC has somewhat redeemed itself in my eyes with its new show, Parenthood. It's a modern-day Waltons in effect, following the oldest son (Peter Kraus) of a family as he deals with Parenthood--including raising a special needs child.

Craig T. Nelson is great as the crusty patriarch forced to open his home to his grown daughter and her two teens who have returned home.
And Gilmore Girls' Lauren Graham plays the middle daughter, trying so hard to not be a mooch but also unable to find her path to independence with a wonderful wistfulness as she comes to grip with a life that is so unlike the one she'd planned when she was a kid.

And the newest temptation on Tuesday nights is Justified which just premiered last week on FX. Based on an Elmore Leonard short story, it also follows a character's reluctant return to his hometown, only this time it's a trigger-happy US Marshal returning home to Harlan County, Kentucky. Played by Timothy Olyphant (of Deadwood fame) Raylan Givens is a character whose actions speak volumes even though he doesn't do a whole lot of talking. When he does, listen closely because the dialogue, though sparse, is excellent, and does Leonard proud.

All I can say is thank goodness all these shows except Justified (what's up with that, FX???) are easily viewed online at my convenience...which explains why I don't get much work done on Wednesdays!

What treasures have you found in the new Spring TV lineup? Tell me--as long as they're not on Tuesdays at 10pm, maybe I'll give them a try!

Thanks for reading,
(photos courtesy of TV Guide, NBC, and CBS)

About CJ:
As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge suspense novels. Her debut, LIFELINES (Berkley, March 2008), became a National Bestseller and Publishers Weekly proclaimed it a "breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller."

The second in the series, WARNING SIGNS, was released January, 2009 and the third, URGENT CARE, October, 2009. Her newest project is as co-author of the first in a new suspense series with Erin Brockovich. To learn more about CJ and her work, go to http://www.cjlyons.net


  1. I love the Good Wife but I keep missing it because I forget when its on. And I wondered what happened to Southland. Stupid NBC - how could they let that one go, it was an amazing show. And I don't get TNT! Grrr... I don't get FX either so I'm going to have to wait for DVDs to come out on Justified but that definitely looks worth checking out.

  2. Kelly,
    No worries! Hulu and CBS have the Good Wife online and if you wait until Friday, you can watch Southland on TNT.

    I haven't found anyplace to catch Justified on line yet, sigh....

    Hope that helps!

  3. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE The Good Wife and Justified.

    I missed so much of Southland that I let it go off of my DVR and I missed the the first few eps of Parenthood but did want to catch that one (loved the movie and this cast seems great.) Maybe I can catch up on these 2 sometime!

    You should also check out Damages and Rescue Me (on FX) if you haven't.

  4. Celeste,
    I agree, loved Rescue Me--up until the last season when they jumped the shark (in my opinion) but the ending of the series was appropriate.

    I tried Damages, just never got into it--I think I kept forgetting about it and it was too hard to catch up. I'll have to try it again.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  5. The show that makes me look forward to its timeslot the most is Spartacus, showing here in Canada on The Movie Network on Mondays. Actually, The Pacific on HBO is another one we're just getting into.

  6. Hey, Julia! Haven't seen either of them yet, but I'll add them to my list to watch for, thanks!

  7. I absolutely want to watch Parenthood - I hear it's good - haven't had a chance tho. And The Good Wife - haven't checked out yet but also hear it's doing well. I did watch the first eps of Southland - but when they yanked it - it fell off my radar. Thanks for the list! As I've mentioned before - I tend to go for the lighter fare - including Glee and 30 Rock. ;) Glee is back in April so looking forward to that - it's fun, silly and features nerdy kids singing and dancing - what more could you want! ;)

  8. I'm right there with ya, only I didn't know Southland was back on. Will have to catch up on that one. Thank goodness I have two DVR's and can record them all while watching something previously recorded.

  9. Great post, CJ! We're fans of the three of your four picks. We couldn't wait for The Good Wife to hit and it has surpassed all expectations. A solid lawyer drama backed by a believable family. Love Julianna and, like you, Chris is a long-time favorite.

    A bit of trivia, Julianna and Chris actually met on the stage of Law and Order when she was a guest star. He told her then she was going places, and he was right. *grin* They've been friends ever since.

    Couldn't wait for Justified as we loved Timothy in the old HBO series Deadwood! And I'm so glad TNT picked up Southland which is definitely the best cop drama out there!

    Like JoJo, I tend towards the lighter fare yet I also love those cop shows. Which may be why Castle on Mondays at ten p.m. is such a delight for me. The snappy dialogue reminds me of the crime fiction of yore. Perhaps because the main character is a crime writer who gets teamed with a detective (the mayor is an old poker buddy) so he could research his new character, Nikki Heat.

    What's amazing is I ended up buying the book supposedly written by the show's character, and as I pored over the pages I'd swear it really was written by the character! What a hoot!



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